No Place Like Utopia

Yurt

Doomer, prepper, primitivist, romantic, survivalist, millennialist, catastrophist* : these are all types of people that believe one way or another that civilisation as we know it is coming to an end. Many take the next step and join or set up communities that would survive such an outcome. Dylan Evans was one such person. In 2006, he quit his job as an academic and sold his house to fund the “Utopia Experiment” – a post-apocalyptic styled community in the Highlands of Scotland. Continue reading “No Place Like Utopia”

Love Life, Love Poetry

A young Pablo Neruda

I don’t naturally lean towards poetry, I prefer the straightforwardness of prose. At the same time, I know that poetry, like music, can affect me in ways a novel or film never could. So, I’m always on the look-out for entry points to poetry, and I recently found one in the works of Pablo Neruda.

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Could You Fly To Mars?

Celestia_mars

The challenge for a manned mission to Mars is neither cost nor technology, but coping with solitude. Imagine being stuck with the same people for two or three years in a confined space with minimal food, entertainment, and contact with Earth. Jason Stuster, a NASA research consultant, who studied the diaries of explorers to remote regions on earth such as the Antarctic found that many would fall into depression or suffer psychoses (think Tarkovsky’s movie “Solaris”)[1]. Continue reading “Could You Fly To Mars?”

How To Think About Change

I’ve been thinking a lot about change recently, especially with my transition from corporate life to start-up life. While I’m comfortable with change most the time, I do occasionally need some words of support. For that, I find there’s no-one better than Lao-Tzu, the founder of Taoism, who lived 2,500 years ago. He wrote:

“life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like”

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Starting My New Adventure: Macro Hive With a Side Of Wellbeing

Twenty years. That’s how long I worked in banking. Aside from a very brief and unhappy start in tech M&A, I’ve spent the entire time doing research. Initially, I focused on foreign exchange markets, before widening out to global economic themes and all markets.   Along the way, I’ve grown as a person, had great teachers and made many friends.

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How To Live Well According To the Ancients (Part Two)

Pythia, Delphic Priestess

In my last blog, I selected a range of sayings from philosphers, religious figures and thinkers on how to live a deep and meaningful life. There are so many insights, I had to split the blog into two, so here’s part two:

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Time Travelling Wisdom (Part One)

Every day, there seems to be some new “discovery” or hack that will unlock our happiness. It’s hard to know what will work and what will not. It’s for this reason, I like to remind myself of enduring wise words from people that lived before us. After all, while today’s material world is very different from the past, human nature is the same: we still seek power, money and love, and we still get angry, scared and upset by the actions of others.

I’m not the first to think like this, Rumi, the 13th century Sufi poet said ” If you’re lost, look for footprints of those that went before you” and Lao-Tze, the Chinese Taoist philosopher from 2,500 years ago wrote “By sticking to the underlying principles  (Tao) of the past, you will master the life of today“. So in a two-part blog, I’ve selected some one-liners from wise people that lived before us. Here’s part one:

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Negotiate Like A Top FBI Hostage Negotiator

“Who has control in a conversation, the guy listening or the guy talking?

The listener, of course.

That’s because the talker is revealing information while the listener, if he’s trained well, is directing the conversation toward his own goals. He’s harnessing the talker’s energy for his own ends.”

Chris Voss

That’s what Chis Voss, formerly the FBI’s lead international hostage negotiator, writes in his excellent “Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It”. His insights shatter the idea that good negotiators engage in a battle of wills against their counterpart. If there is a guiding principle in the FBI’s elite negotiating team it’s that you have to remove yourself from the equation.

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It’s My Blog’s 4th Birthday! Here Are the All-Time Most-Read Posts

Roughly four years ago, I posted my first blog. It was review of a book on “Raising Boys” by Phil Zimbardo. The punchline was that boys were suffering a crisis of masculinity as they withdraw into the world of video games. I followed that by a blog called “My Optimised Morning Routine“. This eclectic mix of topics with a focus on well-being has set the tone of my blogs ever since. It’s also resulted in spin-offs like my curated newsletters and podcasts.

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